Arrest made in connection with Toys for Tots thefts

Johnny Pappillion (Source: SPD)
Johnny Pappillion (Source: SPD)

By Lee Peck - bio | email

SULPHUR, LA (KPLC) - Sulphur Police and the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office held a press conference on Tuesday afternoon to announce an arrest made in connection to the recent thefts from Toys for Tots bins.

45-year-old Johnny Pappillion of Lake Charles has been charged with eight total counts of theft after authorities say he took toys from the Toys for Tots bins at eight different local stores.

Sulphur Police charged him with three counts of theft and three counts of false personation. The bond for those charges has been set at $125,000.

The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office has charged Pappillion with five counts of theft. His bond for those charges has been set at $50,000.

With several phone tips and information received through media coverage of video showing the description of the suspect released by the Sulphur Police Department, the detectives determined Pappillion was the suspect in the video.

After making contact with his residence, detectives learned that Pappillion had fled the area after seeing the news coverage of the theft. Detectives made contact with Pappillion, who agreed to return to his residence and turn himself in.

After returning, officials say Pappillion confessed to taking the toys and took the detectives to a storage building where the toys were recovered and collected by the CPSO authorities and Sulphur Police detectives.

"We believe he acted alone. He told us he planned to give the toys to his kids and grand kids for Christmas," said Sulphur Police Chief Chris Abrahams.

Area Toys For Tots coordinator John Lamar says it's disturbing that a former volunteer is accused in the thefts. "He is a scumbucket. I don't know him and I didn't recognize him, even when they showed his picture on TV," said Lamar.

Detectives say they recovered 211 toys from the storage building, but Lamar is convinced there should be at least three times that amount.

"It makes me feel good to see the toys. But on Black Friday as I said and the bags he was carrying. If you was watching TV and what he was loading in that van. I know there's more missing," said Lamar.

As for how Pappillion managed to pull a fast one on all of the stores, Lamar says they have a strict policy that volunteers must present their Toys For Tots badge and a valid driver's license.

"I can't get upset at the business. I really cannot because it was a busy day," said Lamar.

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